At United we use several therapeutic approaches to best support, guide and raise our children and young people in foster care. The Regsitered Manager was fortunate enough to work with some excellent Social Pedagogues in fostering for many years, using the knowledge and skills acquired during his work in foster care.
What is Social Pedagogy
In broad terms it is about social learning, learning through interaction and creating learning opportunities. Social Pedagogy is about the upbringing of children by taking a holistic view. Social pedagogy can bring about immediate benefits for fostered children and young people, their foster carers, and the other professionals in the team around them, The Fostering Network’s four year Head, Heart, Hands programme has found.
Head, Heart, Hands has the aim of demonstrating that social pedagogy, a proven approach elsewhere in Europe, can work here in the UK. Head refers to the use of theory which can be shared by all the people in the team around the child. Heart acknowledges that relationships are central for human beings, that everyone has an ethics and values base which needs to be recognised and understood. Hands take the theory and the emotions and make them work in everyday life, seeing practical activities as vital opportunities for learning and building relationships.
How does it work
At United we encourage our foster carers, social workers or others to use ‘head, heart and hands’ to help children achieve a secure base. It is immensely important that children and young people are given opportunities to make positive experiences, so that they can improve their self believe and self-esteem. They need to be able to make mistakes in an environment which makes allowances for that, and uses them as a learning opportunity. Foster carers are in an ideal position to do just that, in the security of their family life. That is so much easier than for example at school, where 20 class mates are watching every move you make as soon as you put up your hand.
It’s the simple things that make all the difference. As adults we have a responsibility to create these opportunities for learning. This includes basic things such as baking a cake, helping with the gardening, playing an instrument, climbing a tree, washing a car, looking after a pet, helping with the cooking etc.
Social Pedagogy- A Holistic Approach
Social Pedagogy is about meeting the child or young person at their level, and understanding their map of the world. Tuning in to their emotions, being aware of their needs, wants, likes, fears, hopes. We need to do everything we can to work alongside the children, with our hands, heart and head. It’s the combination and balance of those three elements that influences success over failure.
At United Fostering we will be providing learning opportunities to our foster carers and staff members. This knowledge will enable them to respond sensitively, at the child’s pace and to work with children to help them identify and communicate their feelings in a safe way.
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